Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Learning through socially networked media.

I have been following some interesting discussions around rethinking school and education (Artichoke, Sheryl on the Techlearning Blog, Christopher D. Sessums). Also the recent response to the Software Licensing for schools, whether you agree or not, I believe is more about rethinking school than an issue of access to software.

Another NZ blogger who has been tackling some of these issues is Leigh Blackall. Leigh will be speaking in Auckland on Wednesday 15 August at the Epsom Campus. Leigh has been researching and developing models for learning through socially networked media. Ranging in topics from free and open source software, de-schooling, and networked learning he will be exploring and challenging these concepts in the context of New Zealand education and the widening use of the Internet, social web and 3D virtual worlds in schools.

This will be an excellent opportunity for educators to begin exploring the possibilities for learning in ways that are different and potentially more relevant and responsive to today's educational environments and perhaps those in the future.

This event is organised by The Auckland Computers in Education Society (ACES) and is free to members (Register as an individual - $25 or as a school/organisation - $75). To find out more details and to register visit the ACES website.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Putting an end to 'scooping' and 'smushing'.

Our cluster was engaged and challenged on Saturday with the support of Jamie McKenzie. We tackled the issue of topical research vs authentic research, supported by powerful learning. Jamie presented us with some thoughtful and practical strategies we can utilise as teachers including some valuable examples of how to manage the impact of ICT and the burgeoning amount of information available especially through the web. To contextualise this we started by reading Jamie’s article “Putting an End to Topical Research”.

Strategies that we have been exploring this year as a cluster were confirmed, in particular, identifying and accessing quality online resources to support learning for students vs random Google searches. I know I have posted on this topic before but access to these resources starts with us as teachers. How we select and manage access to them, for our students, is crucial and knowing where to find them the first step. eResources for NZ Schools.

We were also challenged to better understand how we could support students to move past understanding and knowing to what Jamie describes as ‘synthesis’…the ability to link knowledge and ideas to create new understandings. If you missed any of the online resources we accessed with Jamie yesterday, I have posted links on the cluster wiki.

On a more geeky note…I had recently been recommended a new online tool, Google Notebook by Suzie at the Otaki-Kapiti Cluster Conference. As we explored the use of electronic text and search engines on Saturday I was able to put Google Notebook to some use. When downloaded it can be accessed from your browser. As you are reading and highlighting, key ideas and information can simple be added to your Google Notebook where they are saved along with the source. Notes are saved automatically and can be accessed at any time in a separate tab or window…who said I needed MS Word on my Mac ;-)
Click screen shots below for a closer look.

Finally a salute to Jennie and the staff at Sunnybrae Normal for hosting us on the day. No mean feat to set up for 80 teachers on the web and wireless too. Special thanks to Stephen and Cathy for all their hard work ensuring all technical bases were covered.

“…students need to be able to read between the lines, infer meaning, draw conclusions from disparate clues and avoid the traps of presumptive intelligence, bias and predisposition.”(Jamie McKenzie, 2004)

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Thanks to Nixit for posting this online tool...has possibilities.

"WikiMindMap is a tool to browse easily and efficiently in Wiki content, inspired by the mindmap technique. Wiki pages in large public wiki's, such as wikipedia, have become rich and complex documents. Thus, it is not always straight forward to find the information you are really looking for. This tool aims to support users to get a good structured and easy understandable overview of the topic you are looking for."

Will quickly suggest and display related topics and keywords for discussion/questioning or as a starting point for further research/exploration.

More visual search engines here

...screen shot results of a search on New Zealand.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Girls, Games and Graphics - Free Event

The New Zealand Game Developers Association is running a free two day event in Auckland from Friday 13-Saturday 14th July to help inform and encourage young women about careers in interactive media in a non threatening environment.

The last event run a couple of years ago was very successful, drawing in 150 attendees. This year there is a great speaker lineup which includes a number of strong male and female role models. Although the event is skewed slightly towards females, it is completely open for males and all age groups to attend (the last event had a 50/50 mix).

The event is free of charge and registration is essential. To view the programme and register your interest see the online registration and programme.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Otaki-Kapiti ICTPD Cluster Conference

Travelled to the Kapiti Coast, along with other facilitators from around NZ, to participate in the first conference of the OK ICT PD Cluster. Having worked only in Auckland clusters I enjoyed the opportunity to share and learn with another group of teachers on a similar odyssey. Thanks to Jan Coleman, cluster facilitator from Victoria, for hosting us all.

To those who attended my workshops resources and links are posted here.
Online Resources Comic Life

Also some gems I came away with include:
Magix Music Maker Free Download for windows...thanks Dave
Jodix Free WMA to MP3 Converter...thanks Ivan Free online brainstorming tool...thanks Jenny
Google Notebook browse, clip, and organize information from across the web in a single online location that's accessible from any computer...thanks Suzie

And enjoyed talking with Matt Holloway and Glen Southwood from Hutt International Boy's School who have formed a company De-Pens, distributing personalised USB flash drives which include everything from wristbands and MP3 players to laser pointers, at very reasonable prices. Download the flyer for their products or email for orders.

Finally I have to include a plug for Wellington, fast broadband...say no more!

Monday, July 2, 2007

The top 100 web applications

If you have not explored the world of Web 2.0 or maybe just need a bit of clarification and translation (zoomr, fotki, chacha..?) have a look at an overview of some of the best and what they do, as voted by users.

Meanwhile somewhere else in cyberspace...
the webs most hated words.
"BLOG", "netiquette", "cookie" and "wiki" have been voted among the most irritating words spawned by the Internet, according to the results of a poll published in June (